Fighting pediatric cancer with the help of football

Posted at 10:42 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-11 22:42:44-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich-- On Friday September 21, the community will dress in black and head to Northview High School in Grand Rapids for the annual Blackout Football Game.

The event, which is now in its 10th year, raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer research. And while it's a big night for the community as a whole, the event does hold extra meaning for one student athlete.

"When I was first diagnosed I didn’t know what to expect. I was just a teenager. They walked in and told me and it left me in shock,” says Schuyler Kleibusch, a cancer survivor.

Kleibusch was just 14-years-old when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

He and his family say during his fight, they received much support from the Pediatric Oncology Resource Team (P.O.R.T) with Helen DeVos Children's Hospital.

“They came in and brought a basket full of stuff like toiletries, blankets and any kind of thing you might need," says Janna Jones, Schuyler's mom.

T-shirts for the Blackout game are being sold for $10, with the money going towards P.O.R.T.

“We certainly are going to raise money for the event, but most importantly it’s about raising awareness and educating and getting our kids involved in something bigger than themselves,” says Varsity Football Head Coach Trip Gallery.

After a two and a half year battle, Schuyler is in the clear when it comes to cancer, and says this will be his fourth Blackout game.

“I always try to do as much as I can for the Blackout and I also volunteer at the hospital," says Kleibusch. "I’m giving back as much as I can to the community and to anybody who has cancer."

His coach says the courage he shows on the field inspires the whole team.

“You have Schuyler battling his whole darn life and continuing to lead by a positive example it’s quite an inspiration,” says Gallery.

The Blackout game has a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. to honor those with cancer.

After that, the Northview Wildcats will take on Forest Hills Central High School, with kickoff at 7 p.m.